Civics and Citizenship Assessment

Publication Date



Citizenship education, Civics, Knowledge level


Paper presented at the Annual Meetings of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) in New Orleans, 1-5 April.


What explains the differences in student knowledge about Democracy, institutions and Citizenship and their skills in interpreting political communication? Does the amount of 'civic knowledge' depend mainly on the home environment, on the students' level of communication and activities in the area of politics, or does school make a difference in acquiring this knowledge? Which student-level and school-level factors do have an effect on cognitive abilities in this domain? The second lEA Civic Education Study provides data on 14-year-old students from 28 countries from Europe, North America, South America, Asia and the Pacific which can be used to study the effects of gender, home environment, school-related variables, communication and participation on Civic Knowledge both on the student and school level.' Civic Knowledge was tested using 38 multiple-choice items covering a broad range of civic related content domains. IRT estimates for Civic Knowledge were used as independent variables in the multilevel regression models presented in this paper. In order to facilitate the interpretation of the results, countries were grouped tentatively into nine groups which should reflect common characteristics regarding geography, history, culture or educational systems.